How to Decide on the Right Truck Driving School near Dixons Mills Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Dixons Mills AL. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final selection. Location will certainly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Dixons Mills home. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the best means to ensure you’ll get the appropriate education. Just remember, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Dixons Mills AL, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief descriptions for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. A few of the vehicles that operators may be able to drive with Class A licenses are:
- Interstate or Intrastate Tractor Trailers
- Trucks with Double or Triple Trailers
- Tanker Trucks
- Livestock Carriers
- Class B and Class C Vehicles
Class B CDL. A Class B CDL is needed to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Several of the vehicles that drivers may be qualified to operate with Class B licenses are:
- Tractor Trailers
- Dump Trucks
- Cement Mixers
- Large Buses
- Class C Vehicles
Both Class A and Class B Commercial Drivers Licenses might also require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Research a Trucking School
Once you have determined which CDL you would like to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Dixons Mills AL truck driving schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other factors, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are a few more points that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Dixons Mills AL area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Dixons Mills AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Alabama licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personalized attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Dixons Mills AL schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to check out the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driving school will provide sufficient driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Dixons Mills AL schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from some truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Dixons Mills AL schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Dixons Mills AL school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Dixons Mills AL employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Dixons Mills AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Dixons Mills AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Dixons Mills Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
The Mason–Dixon line, also called the Mason and Dixon line or Mason's and Dixon's line, was surveyed between 1763 and 1767 by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon in the resolution of a border dispute involving Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware in Colonial America. It is still a demarcation line among four U.S. states, forming part of the borders of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and West Virginia (part of Virginia until 1863). Later it became known informally as the border between the Northern United States and the Southern United States. Before the Missouri Compromise, the line (west of Delaware) marked the northern limit of slavery in the United States. It is still used today in that figurative sense, as a line that separates the North and South politically and socially.
Maryland's charter of 1632 granted the Calverts land north of the entire length of the Potomac River up to the 40th parallel. A problem arose when Charles II granted a charter for Pennsylvania in 1681. The grant defined Pennsylvania's southern border as identical to Maryland's northern border, but described it differently, as Charles relied on an inaccurate map. The terms of the grant clearly indicate that Charles II and William Penn believed the 40th parallel would intersect the Twelve-Mile Circle around New Castle, Delaware, when in fact it falls north of the original boundaries of the City of Philadelphia, the site of which Penn had already selected for his colony's capital city. Negotiations ensued after the problem was discovered in 1681. A compromise proposed by Charles II in 1682, which might have resolved the issue, was undermined by Penn receiving the additional grant of the "Three Lower Counties" along Delaware Bay, which later became the Delaware Colony, a satellite of Pennsylvania. Maryland considered these lands part of its original grant.
The conflict became more of an issue when settlement extended into the interior of the colonies. In 1732 the Proprietary Governor of Maryland, Charles Calvert, 5th Baron Baltimore, signed a provisional agreement with William Penn's sons, which drew a line somewhere in between and renounced the Calvert claim to Delaware. But later, Lord Baltimore claimed that the document he had signed did not contain the terms he had agreed to, and refused to put the agreement into effect. Beginning in the mid-1730s, violence erupted between settlers claiming various loyalties to Maryland and Pennsylvania. The border conflict would be known as Cresap's War.
CDL Training Classes Dixons Mills AL
Selecting the right trucking school is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL Training Classes. But first and foremost, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucking school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Dixons Mills AL.
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